New pledge over heart move

HEALTH bosses in Suffolk have today pledged to listen to the county's concerns over the future of Ipswich Hospital.NHS Suffolk, which holds the purse strings of the county's healthcare budget, has pledged to talk with the public in September about the Heath Road site's potential.

HEALTH bosses in Suffolk have today pledged to listen to the county's concerns over the future of Ipswich Hospital.

NHS Suffolk, which holds the purse strings of the county's healthcare budget, has pledged to talk with the public in September about the Heath Road site's potential.

The news of the planned engagement exercise comes after more than 100 consultants at Ipswich Hospital signed an open letter expressing their fears that the hospital was being gradually downgraded by a loss of specialist services.

Tracy Dowling, NHS Suffolk's director of strategic commissioning, said: “I do understand the clinicians' concerns and that is why we need to have more dialogue and discussion with them to understand where the clinical services are going.

“The intention is to have a community consultation in September about the future of Ipswich Hospital because people are concerned.

“We will go into detail of what Ipswich does and what it can do. We mustn't forget that the vast majority of services aren't going anywhere.”

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Mrs Dowling, who used to work at Ipswich Hospital, said high-tech medical advances had meant that Ipswich Hospital's vision for itself had changed in recent years, because more specialist services had been centralised as a result of new evidence.

But she said she did not believe that the hospital would struggle to recruit high-quality staff as a result of the changes, as medics have warned.

“I'm 100 per cent convinced about the future of Ipswich Hospital and that it is strong,” she added.

“We want to commission services locally where that is possible, and only commission specialist services on a regional basis where the evidence shows that is the best way.”

Are you worried about the loss of specialist services from Ipswich Hospital? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.